[Market-farming] Planting high tunnel carrots in November?

Jay Sleichter jaysleichter at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 13 14:57:15 EST 2014

We have seeded carrots in mid January and even early February to do the same thing you are talking about. I have wanted to do it earlier, but I was using the space for our winter markets so I had to harvest out the previous crops prior to replanting.  Those mid January-Early February plantings of Carrots were ready by Mid May, could have pulled sooner as they started to get pretty big by the time I finished digging them.   I also want to have early carrots for next years markets, so this year I left my peppers growing in one of my high tunnels until they finally froze out this week.  I will clean them out, prepare the ground and plant carrots after Christmas (or before if I have time).
The two biggest problems with doing this is watering them and bolting. In the 4 years I have done this, I always tried to start them when a warm spell was coming, so it wasn't so cold when I had to water them.  Also I found out the hard way that Napoli, Nelson and Bolero didn't bolt as bad (just a few plants), but Yellow Sun and a Purple variety 50-75% bolted in Late April, early May.  Maybe it was the year, but now I only plant orange carrots for this early growing season planting.  
If you started them now, and you are a little warmer than I am, I am sure you can do it. They will be a little on the small side, but  they will be very sweet.  Let us know how it works.
 Jay's Jellies, Produce and More
Clay Center, Kansas
      From: elaine granata <elainegranata at msn.com>
 To: 'Market Farming' <market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org> 
 Sent: Thursday, November 13, 2014 1:08 PM
 Subject: Re: [Market-farming] Planting high tunnel carrots in November?
Planting high tunnel carrots in November?#yiv1945947526 #yiv1945947526 -- _filtered #yiv1945947526 {panose-1:2 4 5 3 5 4 6 3 2 4;} _filtered #yiv1945947526 {font-family:Calibri;panose-1:2 15 5 2 2 2 4 3 2 4;} _filtered #yiv1945947526 {font-family:Tahoma;panose-1:2 11 6 4 3 5 4 4 2 4;}#yiv1945947526 #yiv1945947526 p.yiv1945947526MsoNormal, #yiv1945947526 li.yiv1945947526MsoNormal, #yiv1945947526 div.yiv1945947526MsoNormal {margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt;font-size:12.0pt;}#yiv1945947526 a:link, #yiv1945947526 span.yiv1945947526MsoHyperlink {color:blue;text-decoration:underline;}#yiv1945947526 a:visited, #yiv1945947526 span.yiv1945947526MsoHyperlinkFollowed {color:purple;text-decoration:underline;}#yiv1945947526 span.yiv1945947526EmailStyle17 {color:#1F497D;}#yiv1945947526 .yiv1945947526MsoChpDefault {font-size:10.0pt;} _filtered #yiv1945947526 {margin:1.0in 1.0in 1.0in 1.0in;}#yiv1945947526 div.yiv1945947526WordSection1 {}#yiv1945947526 Marlin:  Read somewhere about Elliot Coleman’s “Persephone date” – the date when you no longer have 10 hours of sunlight.  After that date he says you can’t get much to germinate and grow.  I computed mine for Nov 10th in Denver – yours may be later in VA, but you are pushing the line.  But if you have time and  seed it might be worth an experiment – I figure a lot of farming is experimentation.  ElaineDenver  

From: Market-farming [mailto:market-farming-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org] On Behalf Of Marlin Burkholder
Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2014 5:42 PM
To: Market Farming
Subject: [Market-farming] Planting high tunnel carrots in November?  
Today I took the frost killed tomatoes out of my high tunnel.  I had originally planned on shooting for an early tomato crop (ripe tomatoes in early June) and having the vines out by mid September and going back in with carrots and(or) some other winter hardy greens for winter marketing.  However a screw up on getting my plants started last January resulted in my needing to buy replacements (started in mid February) and my not getting the first ripe tomatoes until near the end of June.  I spent most of the summer with my wife wandering the far West in a small RV while a farm sitter looked after the farm.  When I returned  in mid August I found that the high tunnel tomatoes had been hard hit by early blight and bacterial spot.  Because this was the first year to try the “sucker to a single stem” and “train the single vine to a “string on a spool” and “lower and lean the vines as they grow” system I wanted to work with and gain experience with this system and decided to nurse the crop back to health with some foliar fertilizer and fungicide-bactericide and to carry the crop as long as I could into the fall.  I harvested and sold decent quality ripe tomatoes through October and when the hard freeze descended on November 3rd there were still a number of nice sized love apples yet to ripen.  I harvested these,  browned bagged them, and brought them inside to ripen.  If this technique works I will have them on my market table until the end of November.

Now the question.  Can I successfully work up the ground and seed a crop of carrots this late into the fall and have ready to dig carrots by early April?  I know it is getting awfully close to the winter solstice daylight deficient slowdown for getting new seedings started.  I thought I would put low tunnels covered with row cover inside the high tunnel to keep the beds a little warmer.   I think it would work okay for something like lettuce,chard, or spinach but I’m not so sure about carrots.  What ever I go with I want to be taking the winter crop out as I put tomatoes back in in April.  Last year this worked well with spinach in as the winter crop but I have enough spinach planted outside and it can stand the winters in Virginia without high tunnel protection.  We are in cold hardiness zone 6 in this part of Virginia.
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